‘Suicide Machine’ a Big Draw at ‘Funeral Show’ in Amsterdam

*Admit it. Your first thought was probably some people are crazy as hell. I’m not being totally transparent because “some people” wasn’t my actual thought. But hey, who am I? On with the story.

Sarco, a machine that allows people to kill themselves with the press of a button drew quite a crowd at the funeral show in Amsterdam last April. I can only hope it was just because people were curious to see how something like this works…just for curiosity sake.

I’m still grappling with the fact that Funeral Shows happen. Are they a thing? I really don’t know. But we’re talking about Amsterdam; where they are a thing.

But Sarco, short for the sarcophagus, the 3D-printed machine invented by Australian euthanasia activist Philip Nitschke and Dutch designer Alexander Bannink, is controversial — even in Amsterdam. The machine comes with a detachable coffin, mounted on a stand that contains a nitrogen canister.

Nitschke, who was dubbed “Dr. Death” due to his efforts to legalize euthanasia, speaks about it as if it just another gadget.

“The person who wants to die presses the button and the capsule is filled with nitrogen. He or she will feel a bit dizzy but will then rapidly lose consciousness and die,” Nitschke explained to the Associated Foreign Press.

“The Sarco,” he continues, “is a device to provide people with a death when they wish to die.” 

With the growing rate of teen suicides today, all I can say is I pray this machine doesn’t make it to America.

The inventors put a model of the device on display, together with a set of virtual reality glasses to give visitors a true-to-life experience of what it would be like to sit in the pod, before ultimately pressing the button.

Dutch designer Alexander Bannink explains how the “Sarco” euthanasia pod works as a woman experiences sitting in the device by wearing virtual reality glasses

But my fear may already come too late.

The designer, who admits he wanted to hurry and build a fully-functioning machine before years’ end explains…

The design will be put online as an open-source document for people to download. “That means that anybody who wants to build the machine can download the plans and 3D-print their own device,” Nitschke said.

“In many countries suicide is not against the law, only assisting a person to commit suicide is,” Nitschke said when asked about the controversy surrounding suicide. “This is a situation where one person chooses to press a button… rather than for instance standing in front of a train.”

He’s got a point there. But should “options” accompany something so final?

And just when my judgmental mind was thinking, “I swear, does anyone have a respect for life?” I read this.

“I believe it’s a fundamental human right (to choose when to die). It’s not just some medical privilege for the very sick. If you’ve got the precious gift of life, you should be able to give that gift away at the time of your choosing,” Nitschke said.

Oh god.

Out of curiosity, I checked for a price. All I found so far was a gun shop by the same name.

Readers, what say you?

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